WASHINGTON—The Internal Revenue Service will be resuming issuing collections notices to taxpayers that were previously suspending during the COVID-19 pandemic, although a date on when they will begin to be sent out has not been set.

“Right now, we are planning for restarting those notices,” Darren Guillot, commissioner for collection and operation support in the IRS Small Business/Self Employment Division, said May 5, 2023, during a panel discussion at the ABA May Tax Meeting. “We have a very detailed plan.”

Guillot assured attendees that the plan does not involve every notice just starting up on an unannounced day. Rather, the IRS will “communicate vigorously” with taxpayers, tax professionals and Congress on the timing of the plans so no one will be caught off guard by their generation.

He also stated that the plan is to stagger the issuance of different types of notices to make sure the agency is not overwhelmed with responses to them.

“The notice restart is really going to be staggered,” Guillot said. “We’re going to time it at an appropriate cadence so that we believe we can handle the incoming phone calls that it can generate.”

Guillot continued: “We want to also be mindful of the impact that it will have on the IRS Independent Office of Appeal. Some of those notices come with appeals rights and we want to make sure that we give taxpayers a chance to resolve their issues without the need to have to go to appeal or even get to that stage of that notice. So, it will be a staggered process.”

In terms of helping to avoid the appeals process and getting taxpayers back into compliance, Guillot offered a scenario of what taxpayers might expect. In the example, if a taxpayer was set to receive a final Notice of Intent to Levy right before the pause for the pandemic was instituted, “we’re probably going to give most of those taxpayers a gentle reminder notice to try and see if they want to comply before we go straight to that final notice. That’s good for the taxpayer and it’s good for the IRS. And it’s good for the appellate process as well.”

Guillot also said the agency is going to look at the totality of the 500-series of notices and taxpayers and their circumstances to see if there is a more efficient way of communicating and collecting past due amounts from taxpayers.

He also stressed that the IRS has been working with National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins and she has offered “input that we’re incorporating and taking into consideration every step of the way.”

Collins, who also was on the panel, confirmed that and added that the IRS is “trying to take a very reasonable approach of how to turn it back on,” adding that the staggered approach will also help practitioners and the Taxpayer Advocate Service from being overwhelmed as well as the IRS.

Guillot also mentioned that in the very near future, the IRS will start generating CP-14 notices, which are the statutory due notices. This is the first notice that a taxpayer will receive at the end of a tax season when there is money that they owe and those will start to be sent out to taxpayers around the end of May.

By Gregory Twachtman, Washington News Editor